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Interview: The role of the health system

Debrief 1
I think one of the main messages for health workers dealing with migrants and asylum seekers is, firstly, you have to provide a low level, you should not build up barriers. It should be easy for the patients to come to you, to trust you; they should not be confronted with a wall of legislations and regulations on one side. Secondly, we have to work as a team, we have to be complementary with what we do; we have to have a good exchange and communication among us. We have to learn from each other. And we have to, when many people come at the same time, we have to introduce a sort of triage system, a sort of filtering system.
It’s not the task of the specialist to sit at the forefront and deal with huge numbers of cases. We have to have people who try to filter this “stream” of patients, of sick people, who want something, and try to bring order into the system. And all this together makes it really possible to deal also with challenges we are facing at the current moment. We have a crisis of refugees, but one which can be overcome, one which can be solved, if there is the political will on one side and if there are enough people who are willing to contribute their share.

Sarah thinks: “What an intense week! But there are so many barriers to adequate health care for refugees! I would have never thought of most! I agree with the Head of Department on a number of the things he says. But are health systems reliably equipped for this?”

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